From the Thorley Archives

Thorley Men who Served in the First World War


In 1989 the Rector, Rev. Clive Slaughter, was given a small red notebook by the relatives of Reginald Newman following his death the previous year, aged 100. Reggie, as he was affectionately known, had served for many years as churchwarden of his church, St. James the Great, Thorley.

The preface to the notebook reads -
'This book contains a short record of the Sailors & Soldiers of Thorley, Herts, who served in the "Great War", 1914 to 1919'.
John E.I. Procter, Rector of Thorley

The notebook contains individual pages of details of the 103 servicemen's names, their home address, their pre war occupation and employer, dates when they enlisted, the regiments that they joined, where the serviceman served, their military awards, and what happened to them - wounded, gassed, hospitalised, died in action or of their wounds or survived.

J.E.I.Procter compiled his notebook at the end of the war as references are made to the 'Royal Air Force' (which was created in April 1918). He lists three of the Thorley servicemen as serving in the RAF which was previously known as the Royal Flying Corps.

Canon J.E.I.Procter, Rector of Thorley 1909 - 1937, was also responsible for the installation of our war memorial which is located on the north wall inside the church. It is somewhat unusually comprehensive in that it lists all those who served in World War One on the two side panels as well as listing the names and dates of death of those 20 men who lost their lives, 1914 - 1919, on a central panel.

Reverend John Edward Ingleby Procter
Curate 1891 - 1909
Rector 1909 -1937
St James the Great, Thorley
Canon of St Albans Cathedral

I was entrusted with this valuable document in my capacity as the church archivist by the Rev. Clive Slaughter several years ago. Recently a relative of two of the Thorley servicemen informed me that he had been allowed access to copy an album of photographs of 50 of the 103 servicemen contained in the notebook. He had located these many years ago in the Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies records at Hertford (Ref. D/EX 636/1). Philip Hargrave has now transcribed the notebook into electronic format, and he and I have matched my digitally scanned versions of these photographs with the notebook entries, to produce the document now published on this website. Six additional named photographs of Thorley servicemen also appear in the album that have not been noted in Canon Procter's notebook. There is also one un-named photograph which remains unidentified.

This latest addition to our website will provide a wealth of information for those family historians wishing to trace their relatives. We are hopeful of being able to add to the biographies from visitors to the website and would particularly welcome missing photographs of the Thorley servicemen whether in their WW1 uniform or later in life photographs.

Bill Hardy
April 2008

Canon Procter's Book with Photographs

Additional Photographs

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